I’ve been so looking forward to making this post! I teased a lot about the little details Erik & I planned for our wedding throughout the last (nearly) 2 years, so it only seemed right to finally fill in the blanks. By now, it’s no secret that I enjoyed wedding planning and I sort of wanted to put some of our ideas out there to see if it can help anyone who’s currently planning for their big day as well. I also realize that not everyone finds this stuff interesting, so this will be the last wedding-centric post, I promise! We will soon be back to our regular scheduled programming. Until then, please enjoy these selected photographs taken by our wonderful photographer, Alexander…
Erik & I both knew early on that we didn’t want to have a traditional wedding. I’m not a fan of white dresses and he doesn’t care for suits or tuxes. We decided to go with a more casual look for us and for our bridesfolk.
Erik went with a mixed gray tweed-like blazer by Massimo Dutti, paired with a sky blue tech shirt. The shirt choice was very important to him because he didn’t want to feel sweaty and gross all day (as you do on your wedding day due to any combination of stress, nerves, and weather — for us it was definitely the 80 degree October day!), so he opted for a moisture wicking dress shirt from Eddie Bauer, which I thought was a brilliant idea. The outfit was anchored by a pair of dark burgundy chinos. He was receiving compliments on them constantly! Erik finished it off with a floral skinny tie.
My dress was handmade by a woman in Jersey City and tailored by a local shop. I went with a champagne fabric under ivory lace. This, I believe, was my best move as the dress was under $800!
On our feet were floral flats (me) and leather with gray wool boots (Erik). Erik also wore floral socks that matched his tie.
Author’s note: I’m legally obligated to admit here that I originally vetoed the leather-with-gray-wool boots, but once I saw them next to Erik’s blazer, I knew they looked too good to pass up. I was wrong, Erik was right.
As for our bridesfolk, we didn’t feel like having everyone match and look like one cohesive unit was appropriate. We told our lovely ladies and gents to stay within our color palette (earthy tones, blush, sage, deep reds, etc.) and find whatever best fits their budget. I didn’t want people to empty their wallets and I didn’t want people to feel confined to a bridal boutique. I think they did an amazing job!
Erik & I also decided against “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen.” We had our Matron of Honor and Best Man, but beyond that, we had a mixed group of friends and family: our Bridesfolk and Groomsfolk. On my side I had (L-R) my friend Allison, our friend Debbie, my friend Charlie from high school, my MOH Shari, & my brother, Travis. Erik’s side was made up of (L-R): our friend Jen, his Best Man Dave, our brother-in-law Dave, his sister Meredith, his friend Rhiannon from college, & his nieces Charlotte and Adrianne (not pictured).
It was hard to decide on an invite suite. I knew I wanted to buy from an independent artist on Etsy as opposed to picking a template from companies like Minted or Wedding Paper Divas. After looking through what felt like 1,000 different designs, we finally settled on this:
Based on the location of our venue, we knew we wanted to have a tree-themed invite. Erik likes watercolor so we narrowed down our search to watercolor trees and this was our favorite! This also kickstarted our accidental theme of trees for the wedding, haha.
Before we got engaged, I had a custom return address stamp made that also featured trees, so we used that on the envelopes since it worked so well.
Also, I need to mentioned that, because I’m a crazy person, I scoured Etsy for the perfect combination of green/tree vintage stamps to use specifically for this photo. We couldn’t afford to buy vintage stamps for all the invites we mailed, but we were able to buy enough to stage envelopes for the photos!
I think I mentioned that Erik had my engagement ring made by an artist at Green Lake Jewelry Works. Erik was impressed by them as a company and I’m absolutely in love with my ring, so it was a no brainer that we had to go back to them for our wedding bands! Erik corresponded with the designer and had a band made with the same tree-bark design as my engagement ring for me and a hammered-texture band made for him — both in rose gold. Here they are sitting in our monogrammed Mrs. Box:
It’s hard to photograph the inside of the bands, but mine says “I love you…” and Erik’s says “…to the moon and back.” (Also, I loveeee that Alexander photographed the rings on the thistle in our table runner. It’s quite fitting!)
Speaking of table runners…
One of the first things I knew I wanted were farm tables with eucalyptus table runners. I’m not a very floral person so these runners were perfect. We asked our florist to include pine cones and thistle, but she went above and beyond by including berries and fern in there as well. For spacial reasons, we included 2 round tables with ivory linens for our parents’ tables. Our florist had the lanterns in her shop and surrounded them with horizontal wreaths that matched my bouquet and added pinecones and thistle to them, which I loved.
When planning for our wedding, practicality was a big thing for me. I wanted the decisions we made and the things that we purchased to have purpose and have the ability to be repurposed. So when it came to favors, I landed on custom campfire mugs (finished off with a stick of cinnamon for the hot apple cider we had with dessert). I did some research and found a wholesale company, Bargain Mugs, that not only sells these heavy duty ceramic mugs, but they also offer printing services. I wanted the design to be low key, so I asked the gals who made our custom return address stamp to create a logo for us for the mugs. So not only does it tie the two together, but she did the design for free! They are so amazing, so I need to plug them: check out Adobe Lane!
The artist who made our invites sent me a digital file of the watercolor trees along with the name of the fonts she used, so I made our menus myself! I found a watercolor paper similar to that of our invites, so I had them printed on it. I was really proud that I was able to pull that off successfully, haha.
We rented a handful of things for the day of, which includes the table and chalkboard seen in the photo above. The rental company works with a local calligrapher who did all of the text. We chose to have “goodbye” written on the chalkboard since our wedding was also acting as our going away party. The trees in the background behind the lettering was a great idea on the calligrapher’s part and it helped boost our accidental tree theme.
The globe (which is actually the moon!) acted as our guest book — also an Etsy purchase from a lovely artist and calligrapher. We found the lantern at Homegoods and that was what we used for all the generous gifts from our guests.
To the right of the guestbook table was the proper entrance to the venue. I say “proper” because the entire reception area of the venue is lined with french doors on each side, so people were entering from every which way. The various foliage seen here was brought in by the florist. The sandwich chalkboard with calligraphy was another rental.
Some of our guests were lucky enough to sit outside on the back porch during the reception. The heat and humidity peaked during our ceremony (around 2:30pm) so by the time the reception rolled around, it was super comfortable outside. Our florist supplied the Edison string lights on the back porch as well as the waterfall of string lights inside (more pictures of that soon).
Our biggest DIY was probably our sign post. Since we moved shortly after the wedding, we wanted to include locations of importance to us, with the distance to those locations from the venue. Among them are Erik’s parents house, my parents house, my birthplace, and Erik’s birthplace. We rounded it out by including directions to different parts of our wedding day along with our hashtag.
We were lucky enough to be able to have our ceremony outside, which was exactly how I imagined it. Instead of printed programs, we rented those windows and had the calligrapher write all the credits on the panes. It included our officiant (who is a good friend of my family), our bridesfolk, flower gals, music (guitar by Shari’s husband, Mike), and of course the trees.
What is really, really special to me is the arbor. My cousins made it for me as a gift out of white birch and it is absolutely stunning. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s very expensive to rent an arbor, so I’d much rather have this one made with love by my cousins that I get to keep. We plan on putting it on our lawn when Erik & I buy a house. If you need an arbor or any custom carpentry, please contact my cousin Ryan!
We also rented this giant chalkboard which acted as our seating chart. I wanted to take this home and keep it forever! It came out beautifully. We used the names of trees instead of table numbers. We tried to match the tree name with the people at the table somehow, too. Our sweetheart table was named Ash and Colombian Oak, hah.
To keep with the tree theme, Erik hand drew and watercolor painted the table name cards. They came out so nice. Erik scanned them so I could add the text to each card. Then we printed them on watercolor paper (the same paper as the menus!) so we can keep the originals. It’s a good thing we did that since we lost most of them in the shuffle of breaking everything down the day after the wedding. My cousins gave me the leftover pieces of white birch from the arbor so we cut them down and used them as stands for the table names.
The main reception area was decorated with the aforementioned waterfall of string lights and two white birch trees on either side of the stage — all courtesy of our florist.
There were 3 fireplaces in the venue, which meant there were 3 mantles to be decorated! Two of them are pictured above. The first one, with the A&E letters, was behind our sweetheart table. I bought the letters from Michaels years ago & the wreaths and candles were supplied by the florist. The other mantle was on the other side of that wall in the bar / lounge area. We brought a bunch of framed photos and other various pieces from home to decorate the inside of the venue with, which includes the letter board and the “scout for good” framed print.
Here is the part I was most excited about and also most nervous about: Games!
I am not a dancer, Erik is not a dancer. It didn’t seem right to rely solely on a dance floor for our reception. I had plans early on to include lawn games as an alternative to the dancing. It was easy to be excited about it, but it was also nerve wracking on the off chance that it rained. We really weren’t in any type of position to spend money on all these large lawn games only for it to be rained out and confined to the inside of the venue. Luckily it was dry and they were a huge hit!
A lawn game staple is corn hole, so we knew we had to get a set of boards and bean bags. Erik’s friend makes custom corn hole sets, so we asked him to make it for us. We got to choose the stain (we chose Spanish Moss because South Carolina), the color of the bean bags, and the decal. I made the decal in Photoshop and had them printed and sent to him to apply to the boards. They look so amazing!
Erik saw a kickstarter for a game that merged skee ball and putt putt golf: Putter Pong. It’s a pretty genius idea, but every set they mailed us ended up damaged so they kept sending them until we got 2 that were damage free. We ended up with 3 functioning sets so they all made an appearance at the reception.
Erik found this giant Connect 4 game on Amazon which was a hit with the younger guests.
The highlight of the reception was the giant Jenga, supplied by Erik’s best man, Dave.
We had a couple other games that were floating around, too: Bocce and a bottle opener coin toss.
The entire lawn was being engaged at all times, which was really cool to see. The games really brought everyone together. Folks from Erik’s side of the guestlist who had never met any of my family before were getting along like they were old friends. It really made for a great collection of photos from Alexander.
I’m going to close out this post by including a few of the surprises that we didn’t tell anyone about prior to arriving at our wedding. These are things that I think were unique and different and I hope our guests appreciated them and enjoyed them as much as I did.
Our flag: There’s a flagpole that stands naked at the venue — unless the couple decides to dress it up, that is. We had a custom flag made (I posted photos of Erik opening the package when we got it) and it was printed incorrectly so we hung that one on the flagpole, since the error couldn’t be seen easily from far away, and we hung the correct one above our sweetheart table inside.
Coffee bar! Our friend and officiant works for Booskerdoo, so he offered to have one of his employees come to the reception and serve their coffee. This was definitely a hit, haha. Who doesn’t love unlimited free coffee?
Beer, etc. We decided against hard liquor for a couple reasons: me & cost being two of them. I don’t / can’t drink due to my health so we compromised with beer and wine. Our brother-in-law, Dave, told Erik about a spot in Delaware that had a wide selection of beer and wine for cheap, on top of being tax-free. Erik & his father went down there a month or so before the wedding and stock piled a bunch of good beer and wine, including some gluten-free options for my friend who has Celiac. From what I recall, there was Shipyard Pumpkinhead (I miss being able to have this!), Sam Adams Octoberfest, Not Your Father’s Root Beer, & the gluten-free beer (the name escapes me).
Since I can’t have alcohol, I wanted to make sure there was something special that I could have. Every fall, Erik & I splurge on Maine Root’s Pumpkin Pie Soda. I had contacted Maine Root back in May before the wedding and asked if we could buy some cases of it out of season. They replied and told me that they don’t have a supplier near where we were in New Jersey, but that we were welcome to go to their warehouse in New Hampshire and pick it up. I was super upset because that wasn’t something we could just up and do… Until I remembered Erik and his best man had just made plans to hike Mount Washington — which is in New Hampshire — in July. So on their trek up to the mountain, they made a pit stop at the Maine Root warehouse and bought 5 cases of their Pumpkin Pie Soda. It worked out perfectly!
So this was more for me (& my friend with Celiac) than anyone else, but our cake was 100% gluten and dairy free! We had it made at the vegan bakery that Erik always got my birthday cupcakes from. It was tie-dye cake with cinammon cream cheese frosting. The florist added the eucalyptus and the Aspen wood (which looks a lot like white birch) cake stand is from Etsy.
Not pictured: the cake cutting utensils with tree branch handles from Sur La Table
I’d also like to mention that our menu was also gluten, dairy, & soy free and it was delicious! Nobody could tell that it was a dietary-specific menu and I was allowed to eat all of it.
A caricature artist! Okay, so we stole this idea from Erik’s friends. We went to their wedding a few years back and they had 2 caricature artists. Erik really loved the idea so we found someone local to come out and spend a few hours with us. He’s totally cool and had a line of guests waiting to sit for him throughout the entire reception!
Finally, the fire pit. This is actually my parents’ pit that we transported to and from the venue just for the wedding. It was so nice to change out of my dress after the music stopped (there’s a 9pm curfew due to the venue being surrounded by a community of homes) and come out by the fire and watch the last of the guests leave for the night. There was a group of about 15 of us that hungout until around 10:30-11:00pm before we packed up for the night and headed home. We brought supplies for s’mores, but everybody was full from dinner and dessert still.
So I think that about covers it! Below is a list of the items and people I talked about throughout the post. I highly recommend all of them.
Thanks for reading,
Photography: Longbrook Photo
Bride: IEIE Bridal
Groom: Massimo Dutti, Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, Ted Baker
Hair: Spa Bella, Sweet Hair Peace
Rings: Green Lake Jewelry Works
Ring Box: The Mrs. Box
Invites, globe, cake stand: Etsy
Games: Amazon, Putter Pong
Arbor: Ryan Grebel Carpentry
Flag: Wild Standard
Rentals: Dovetail Rentals
Florist: In The Garden
Caterer: Whistling Onion
Cake: Papa Ganache
Caricature Artist: Quickdraw Studios
Favors: Bargain Mugs
Stamp, mug decal: Adobe Lane